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MMPH Students

Salah Al-Zaiti, RN, NP, PhD

As an Assistant Professor of Acute & Tertiary Care Nursing at Pitt, my research involves using machine learning methods to develop ECG tools that can improve the recognition of Non-ST elevation (NSTE) cardiac ischemia or risk of poor outcomes. I am currently working with 15 different EMS agencies in the City of Pittsburgh to recruit a large cohort of chest pain patients. The findings may provide insights that can influence NSTEMI guidelines revisions and improve public health



I graduated in 2015 from the University of Florida with my Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science. I am currently a D.M.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine as well as an MMPH student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. I aspire to help underserved communities through my talents, skills, and compassion.


David Gorski

I am in the School of Dental Medicine and am not sure yet if I want to specialize in periodontics after completing dental school, but could envision myself in a community health center or helping to develop dental public health policies and procedures. Prior to receiving my BS in Biology from Pitt and becoming a dental student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, I graduated from West Allegheny High School where I was class president and valedictorian.

Previously, I spent two years volunteering for AmeriCorps. My first year was spent at Carlow University's Community Outreach Center teaching GED courses and helping to set up a student computer lab for the site. My second year, I developed programs for veterans in the Wilkes-Barre area. Currently, I am president of the Periodontics Club at the dental school. I enjoy playing piano (I've played for 22 years), singing with the PalPITTations, and curling on Saturday nights.

Juchul Hwang, MD

After graduating from the Catholic University Medical College, I have worked as a public health doctor in a rural area in South Korea. I met many elderly patients with chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. In the meanwhile, I was elected the president of a provincial association of public health doctors, and established a new exercise education program for elderly people in the province. By this effort, I was honorably awarded a Ministry of Health and Welfare Citation for my contribution to regional health improvement. Later, I entered the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was in charge of the management and research of waterborne and foodborne diseases. I joined the MMPH program of the University of Pittsburgh from spring semester 2016, because I am passionate to pursue studying diverse academic fields that can improve the quality of people’s lives. With core knowledge and experience gained during my MMPH course, I hope to see myself in the future as a researching physician who can concretely promote public health with new, creative ideas. 

Kenya Ie, MD

I earned my MD from Chiba University and practiced in Japan as an internist for four years and as a family physician for seven years. Since I joined the faculty at Mie University in 2011, I enjoy diverse roles as a family medicine clinician educator while conducting research related to medical education and behavioral science. I am enthusiastic to contribute to the development of family medicine as an academic discipline in Japan, through the integration of public health discipline into family medicine education.



After completing my Doctor of Pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015, I completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at UPMC Presbyterian in 2016.  I am currently a pharmacy fellow in Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.  My current research interests center on improving our understanding how medications work for specific populations and individuals so that medication therapy can be most appropriately tailored to the needs of patients.
Upon completion of my fellowship I would like to pursue a career in academia where I can focus on research and academic activities while maintaining a role in patient care.   By completing my MMPH degree at the Graduate School of Public Health I hope to gain the research skills necessary to provide meaningful advances in the way medications are used to help care for populations and individual patients.

Nellie Jafari, PharmD

I am a pharmacy administration resident at Allegheny General Hospital. I am eager to expand and improve my knowledge with the MMPH program. My goal is to be a transformational leader in pharmacy and use population-based approaches to improve public health.

Jamie Kaufer, BS/BA

In addition to pursuing my MMPH, I am also a member of the Class of 2017 at the School of Dental Medicine at Pitt. I graduated from Pitt undergraduate in 2013 with a dual degree in neuroscience and anthropology, with minors in French and chemistry and a certificate in the conceptual foundations of medicine. I hope to practice in an undeserved population and to understand the challenges my patients may face at a deeper level through my work at the Graduate School of Public Health. I am excited to be a part of this program and I look forward to the years ahead!

Rebecca Levine, MD

I grew up in Pittsburgh and went to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine after spending time working in information science fields in New York City. I currently work with information organization at Google’s Pittsburgh office. I plan to return to a residency program in clinical medicine with a solid foundation in public health so that I am best prepared to care for communities as well as individuals.

Erin Lopata, PHARMD

I received my PharmD from Pitt in 2008. I since completed a PGY1 managed care residency at UPMC Health Plan, and remained at UPMC Health Plan in the roles of clinical pharmacy specialist and coordinator, specialty pharmacy. My focus is to effectively manage specialty medications through design of management utilization programs, increased operational efficiencies, and collaboration with specialty providers.

I’m an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, and the instructor for a course on concepts of managed care. I coordinate the UPMC Health Plan PGY-1 Managed Care Residency program, and am a preceptor for the specialty pharmacy rotation. I’m also an active member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

After working as a pharmacist in the health insurance industry for over 6 years, I look forward to gaining a broader perspective on the delivery of health care through the MMPH program.

Carlos Lopez, MD

After graduating with a BS in chemical engineering from Yale University in 2009, I joined the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Structural Biology as a pre-doctoral fellow under James Conway, PhD in order to conduct research on virus capsid protein morphology and function. I then enrolled in the School of Medicine, where I became a member of the Hillman Cancer Center Damage Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules laboratory headed by Michael Lotze, MD. There, I had the opportunity to investigate the links between autophagy, dendritic cell function, and cancer biology. After finishing my medical studies, I
enrolled in the MMPH program, where I continued to expand my research interests even further into the realms of clinical epidemiology, public health policy, and health literacy.

In the summer of 2015, I will begin my internal medicine residency training at the North Shore-LIJ Health System; after that, I plan on sub-specializing in either hematology/oncology, nephrology, or infectious diseases. I hope to be able to combine all I have learned over the past couple of years to help advocate for improved dialogue between scientific disciplines, clinicians, policy makers, and patient communities. 

Smriti Madrecha

Smriti went to the University of Illinois at Chicago for undergrad, majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Spanish and Studio Art. She is currently a dental student and working towards her DMD/MPH. In the future, she hopes to work in community health in underserved areas.

Brock Medsker, MD

Prior to starting my NICU Fellowship in Pittsburgh, I lived in Indianapolis. While there, I completed my medical training at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and pediatrics residency at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. 

I am currently a fellow in the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Program at UPMC. In addition to pursuing my MMPH, I am working as a post-doctoral research fellow in Dr. Juan Celedon’s lab at Rangos Research Center, studying the effects of environmental exposures on asthma in children in Puerto Rico. My project involves conducting data analyses to study the association of maternal stress, preterm birth and subsequent pulmonary outcomes including asthma. In addition to studying these associations, I will look for epigenetic changes in DNA methylation that mediate these effects. I hope to continue my current research looking at specific birth cohorts to identify infants that are predisposed to outcomes such as interventricular hemorrhage or bronchopulmonary dysplasia as candidates for early intervention.

Cody Moore, PharmD

Pharmacy Fellow (Solid Organ Transplantation)

I received my Doctor of Pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014.  Upon graduation, I went on to complete a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency at UPMC Presbyterian.  In addition to pursuing a MMPH, I am the current transplant pharmacy fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. My current research interests include novel approaches to immunosuppression and transplantation-related infectious diseases. 

After fellowship, I will pursue an academic position within a school of pharmacy that combines research and scholarly activities with patient care responsibilities in solid organ transplantation.  I believe that the MMPH program will give me the knowledge and skills necessary to perform high-quality research in order to improve the lives of transplant patients.  

  Community Pharmacy Research Fellow, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy  


Hannah earned her PharmD at St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2015. She then completed a PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency at the University of North Carolina and Walgreens. She is currently the Community Pharmacy Research Fellow at PittPharmacy. Her research interests include quality in healthcare and patient behavior/psychology. After completing the Multidisciplinary Master of Public Health Program as well as her Research Fellowship, Hannah plans to continue the advancement of pharmacist-provided patient care in the community, potentially through an academic setting.


Faraaz Shah, MD

I am currently completing a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and will be staying on as a postdoctoral research scholar. I am currently funded on an NIH T32 research grant and am anticipating starting on an F32 National Research Award in summer 2015. I have an interest in studying long term recovery after critical illness with a particular focus in elderly populations which led me to pursue a Master's in Public Health. I plan to pursue a career as a translational physician scientist following the completion of my degree.


Anne Wang

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with a major in Anthropology and am currently in the Pitt School of Dental Medicine Class of 2017. I hope to promote community health with my degrees. 


PGY 1 Health-System Pharmacy Resident


I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from Stevenson University in Stevenson, Maryland and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, Maryland. I am currently completing a 2-year Health-System Pharmacy Administration (HSPA) Residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am completing a HSPA Residency because I am passionate about pharmacy management and leadership. My career goal is to work in pharmacy policy and patient advocacy. I plan to be engaged in the development and implementation of pharmacy policies in order to prevent future public health disparities, locally and nationally.



 Pharmacy Resident


My name is Paolo Valerio and I am a first year Health-System Pharmacy Administration resident in Allegheny General Hospital. I moved to Pittsburgh in May from Richmond, Virginia where I completed a four-year PharmD program. The residency program integrates a degree Masters in Public Health, which I aim to complete by December 2017. My interests lie in health system pharmacy operations and management. My goals are to expand pharmacy services, follow best practice pharmacy models to deliver the safest patient centered care, and become a leader in innovative pharmacy practice. After completion of my residency, I aim to start a career as a pharmacy operations manager, hone my skills as a leader, and become an executive member in health systems pharmacy.



 Medical Student  

I am a second year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh. I graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University, and I hope to combine my engineering knowledge in helping underserved populations. I am also interested in working with refugee and immigrant populations, particularly understanding the mental stressors that they have gone through on their journey from their respective home countries. In the future, I hope to work with underserved populations and to design novel solutions to psychiatric disorders that they may have.  



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